By Nick SpinelliMarch 27, 2009
Wounded Soldiers and leaders from the Warrior Transition Battalion solidified a covenant during a ceremony at the post theater March 18.
The ceremony was designed to affirm the responsibilities the battalion and the Soldiers share.
"The covenant ceremony is very important because it bonds the cadre to Soldiers; Soldiers to cadre; and Soldiers to senior staff," said Command Sgt. Maj. Lester Williams, Wounded Warrior Battalion command sergeant major.
"With all great organizations, there is always something in writing to bond employees and employers to each other. This shows, in writing, how well we're going to take care of each other."
The covenant promises that the battalion will work to ensure Soldiers receive the proper medical care needed while recovering from injuries. In return, the Wounded Warriors promise to fulfill their end of the obligation by making their appointments, updating leadership on changes and maintaining a positive focus on healing and transition readiness.
Each of the battalion's three company commanders, first sergeants, and a representative signed the covenant on stage.
Lt. Col. Everett Sharpe, WTB commander, and Williams also signed. The covenant was then notarized and signed by a witness.
"It's symbolic. It [the covenant] signifies and validates our promise to take care of our people," said 1st Sgt. Jeff Callahan, WTB Alpha Company first sergeant.
Callahan said the covenant ceremony wasn't meant to launch a new program, just promote a current one.
"This isn't something new. It re-emphasizes what we've always been doing," he said.
The healing process takes time, and for some Soldiers in the battalion, this time can be frustrating. Many feel as though they've been taken out of their mission and are seeing their careers stall.
"The medical side is very helpful, and they're great about making sure we get to where we need to be to prepare us to go back to work," Spc. Brent Kanan of Alpha Company said.
Sgt. First Class Fred Sconfeld, WTB Charlie Company, has been in the battalion since June 2008 and is now waiting to see what the future holds for him.
"I've put in 30 years," he said. I know I'm coming up on the end of my career, but it's scary to think this is the end. Still, I don't have any complaints. It's been good, and I've gotten all the help and care I need for whatever comes next."
Williams says "what comes next" is what the WTB is all about.
"Our mission is to make sure our Wounded Warriors receive proper medical care and then return them to their units or their homes. Sometimes, Soldiers' injuries mean they cannot go back to their jobs. Their time in the battalion gives them a chance to prepare, if that's the case."
Williams said the WTB offers many opportunities for Soldiers, including National Guard and Reserve service members, to return to civilian life.
"We give them all the resources that we can to help them find a new career if needed," he said. "We emphasize this and tell them about the different opportunities available. We even give them time to take courses online to prepare them for new or better jobs. It's all up to the Soldier."